Searching for and viewing houses you might want to buy can be an exciting adventure. But it can also be fraught with peril if you’re not vigilant. Sometimes that house you think you love is hiding some dark secrets that could cost you a lot of headache and money further down the line. So, to keep you from falling into that trap, here are 6 things to watch out for when viewing a house in Los Angeles.
1. Overuse of Scent
When you walk into that house and are assailed by the scents – air freshener, potpourri, candles, baking cookies – that should be a warning sign. The overuse of overpowering scents is often an attempt to cover up other undesirable smells. The owner may be trying to mask pet smells and the odor of water damage and/or mold and mildew.
2. Indications of Deferred Maintenance
A definite red flag among the things to watch out for when viewing a house in Los Angeles are signs and indications of deferred maintenance. If the owner has neglected basic maintenance on observable things, then there are likely bigger problems you can’t see. For example, if you see leaky faucets, tall grass, and faded paint, you might, if you dig deeper, find water heaters that haven’t been flushed out and an HVAC unit on its last legs.
3. Shoddy “Improvements”
Shoddy improvements and slap-dash renovations are other things to watch out for when viewing a house in Los Angeles. These too can be signs that the seller is covering up things he doesn’t want you to see. Hastily and sloppily applied paint on the walls may be an attempt to hide signs of water damage.
In addition, this shoddy work could cost you a good bit of money when you have to put it right after buying the house. Poorly laid tiles in a bathroom might not a big deal because you can re-do the job for a few hundred dollars. But if a large deck or driveway has been improperly installed, you may be looking at thousands of dollars to fix it.
4. Plumbing Issues
This is definitely an important one of the things to watch out for when viewing a house in Los Angeles. Plumbing problems can go undetected for months or even years and can cause expensive damage during that period. Just a small leak in a water-supply line, for example, can go on working its insidious damage for a long time before it’s discovered. And the results are spongy floors, damaged drywall, and even mold and mildew.
5. Signs of Mold
Mold can certainly be detrimental to your health, so be on the lookout for any signs. As you walk through the house, peek under bathroom and kitchen cabinets and look around water lines and drains. Also, be sure to check caulking around tubs, sinks, and lavatories, and look for water spots on walls and ceilings. Even if you see only a few small gray spots, there could be much worse lurking in the darkness unseen. Not only is mold a health hazard, but mold abatement is a lengthy and very expensive process.
6. Roof Problems
Roof problems are almost a sure sign of issues elsewhere, usually water damage on ceilings and in walls. (Roof problems are also another sign of deferred maintenance.) Look for sagging spots and missing shingles or tiles. Roof replacement can cost from $10,000 to $30,000.
Buying a home almost always involves a certain amount risk, but you can greatly reduce that risk to a by keeping in mind these 6 things to watch out for when viewing a house in Los Angeles.